Friday, December 18, 2015

Big news on the blogging software front!

Recently I discovered that I could no longer connect to and post to Blogger with my favorite
blogging software, Windows Live Writer. The server at Google did not recognise the password.
After numerous attempts and some research, I discovered that Google and Microsoft had some
sort of protocol issue that would never be fixed but there was an open source version called Open
Live Writer available that was created by Microsoft volunteers and others in the community to try.

I installed it and got the same issue, and gave up deleting both programs off my computer, resigning
myself to having to post using Blogger’s poor site software.

Imagine my surprize and delight when I got this article in my email box this morning reporting that OLW
is now working and is the same as the Windows Live Writer that I loved!

By the way, I strongly recommend that you subscribe to the My Blogger Tricks site if you are a blogger
or are interested in becoming one, lots of great info there. They sure made my day this morning!

Who knows, maybe the blogging pace will pick up around here now that the e-book is done and on sale
at Amazon. Changing the title though with all the problems that might cause still to come. Also there will be
big news on the e-book front soon!

Morongobill

Monday, November 16, 2015

Another “Terrible” casino fiasco courtesy of the Herbst’s

Spent last night at the soon to be renamed Goldstrike Hotel and Casino out at Jean, Nevada
right off the I-15. This property is located about ten miles down the road after you pass over the
California/Nevada border.

Walked into an almost empty casino on the way to the Reservation desk to get a hotel room.

When I say empty, that doesn’t just mean devoid of people. In this “Terrible” casino, it also means
devoid of slot machines and table games as well.

Now I had to wonder, why is that? Talking to a couple of employees and security guards yielded a
few meager clues so I had to go online for a little more information, blindly surfing right into a “Terrible”
situation.

It seems that the former owner, the MGM Grand, sold this place to Jett Gaming. Now who and what the Hell
is a Jett Gaming, I wondered.

Jett Gaming is the Herbst family owned casino and slot machine route operator. That explained a lot
to me and the pieces started fitting all nice and neatly into place.

Terrible Herbst is a chain of gas stations and convenience stores that have been around the Las Vegas
area for decades. They are great in the gas station business and “Terrible” in the casino business, at least that is my take on their running of their properties that I have personally visited.

As far as I am concerned, they earned my scathing criticism the “old fashioned way” by running the state line casinos that they bought from Gary Primm, right into the ground. They are finally starting to recovery under the direction from Affinity Gaming, somehow still Herbst involved, but with another hired
gun running the whole shebang.

Too bad is he isn’t running the soon to be renamed Goldstrike.

Getting back to business here at the GS, no more buffet which has now become a Denny’s. Just what the traveling public needs, one more Denny’s turning out McCorporate style Grand Slam breakfasts.

One thing I forgot to mention was what an employee said, the slot machines were taken out for the “free”
car show.

Okay, so hundreds of slot machines which provided vitally needed revenue for the casino and job security for many employees who had to be laid off, since they were no longer needed, have been replaced by a “free” car show. Good thing Herbst and Jett Gaming are privately owned because shareholders wouldn’t see the logic behind this latest “Terrible” move by management.

But there is good news. One of the cars is the original Batmobile!

Here are several car shots from the “free” show that were purposely taken to also show off all that unproductive space that used to hold slot machines and gaming tables.

Having spent many nights here over the last couple of decades, this is truly a depressing set of photographs to me personally. Sorry for the shakiness, I had just got in from a nonstop 26 hour drive solo from west Arkansas during which I took only a 10 or 15 minute snooze once.

Interesting article and comments at this link about the “Terrible” acquisition of the Goldstrike.
Too bad the comments are closed as I would add a few choice words about it as well.

Morongobill

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Appears that I may be out of the diabetes woods

Went to see my doctor for the 6 month checkup yesterday. We went over the results from the blood work done the week before.

My efforts at diet change, dropping 99% of my sugar consumption, instituting an aerobic exercise regimen along with
taking the drug Metformin seems to have worked.

As of yesterday, I had lost 52 pounds as well as around 7 inches from my waistline.

Here are the numbers that are of most importance to me personally.

A1C(last few months blood sugar average) 5.2   last visit 6  months ago it was 6.3 and led to a pre diabetes diagnosis.

Triglycerides    209           last time it was 367           this is what happens when you flood your body with sugar.

Both the doctor and nurse were amazed and were really interested in how I accomplished this transformation.

I would like to publicly thank my girlfriend, Luisa, who through her efforts assisted me with great meals such as the one in the picture below:
DSCN1920

In addition, the dosage was cut on two medications as there is a lot less of me now Winking smile

So the ebook which was complete with the exception of a concluding chapter will now be finished once I have had the time to reflect upon yesterday’s events.

Morongobill

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Don’t let a gold mine in the area stop you from approving Castle Mountain NM, Mr. President!

Shaun posted a very informative article the other day over at the Mojave Desert Blog regarding the
proposed Castle Mountains National Monument, one of 3 that Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Senate Bill
S 414 would create and that now is included in a proposal for executive decision creation under the presidential authority granted by Congress under the Antiquities Act, passed I believe in around 1906.

The article is a must read for your understanding of what I am writing here so I  would click the link and then come back here.

Supervisor Lovingood Lays Out Hollow Case Against Monuments

I admit that I was a little behind the curve on this one, was writing a post in favor of the Castle Mountains
proposal, had not heard of the controversy and hope to get caught up now.

Yesterday I attended the public meeting at Whitewater Preserve chaired by Senator Feinstein with help from 2 Congressman and a representative from another’s office. Lots of people showed up, unfortunately I was not called upon to speak. Which is just as well because I might have been a little too confrontational.

My plan was to give the case for why the president should not let that gold mine issue stop him from signing the proclamation creating CMNM, that it is a red herring distraction as 1) Senator Feinstein and her staff specifically gave even more land around the mine for future expansion needs and 2) has always worked to, as she put it yesterday at the meeting, “cherry stem” around mines when drawing up boundaries for these protected areas and 3) has given her word on the issue to the mining folks involved. This is an archaic custom that is hard to fathom in this day and age, someone giving their word and following through. You can take it to the bank in the Senator’s case.

Let me say something right now. I am a Feinstein supporter. Always have and always will be. Yesterday was the first time that I have attended one of her events and my impression is that she had the audience from the very beginning. She really knows how to keep the flow going and how to choose just the right moment or way to defuse a situation. As far as this blogger is concerned, she has my vote for life.

DSCN1915

She is not confrontational, she is a consensus builder. Perhaps that explains her success in helping the California deserts and other wild places. Keep it up, Senator. Keep being the steadfast friend that they need in their corner, the person they can count on when things look the bleakest.

Now regarding this gold mine business and the potential economic benefits of what did they say, 225 million and 300 jobs that could be lost if the president signs off on the CMNM? Let’s look at that, shall we?

First, let me tell you which direction that I am coming from here. My point of view, you all know by now is as a supporter of the desert and the Senator. But I have also invested in Canadian junior miners in the resource sector, which is what this company is.

The mine in question was open for years, an open pit mine, and was shuttered years ago when the gold price dropped and it was unprofitable to keep selling it at a price lower than it cost overall to dig it up out of the ground. The lease remained in effect and another company, now known as Newcastle Gold acquired the lease rights. They would like to reopen the mine with extra areas to mine based upon their geological studies and recent core sample drilling campaign.

So far, so good. Just a typical small miner trying to kick start a project, going through all the regulatory permitting steps and lining up their ducks all the way to the financing  process begins and then is funded.

Somehow they managed to get noticed by the local politicos and other mining interests and then that interest was evidently picked up by their congressman’s office and they have become some sort of mini cause celebre for the local mining industry.

That’s all well and good, more power to them, but I am not going to dwell on the political issues here, instead I will look at it with an investor’s eye only. Here are some things that I noticed in going through some of their recent documents found over at Sedar, which is Canada’s version of the SEC Edgar search site used here in the United States. I also looked at Edgar but found more information at Sedar, either works.

http://sedar.com/

The company appears to me to be under capitalized, with around $1.8 million in the bank as of June 30, 2015.  The market cap is around $20 million for the whole company. Per their own documents, they say that the most likely way to raise money for the ongoing operations is through financial raisings via the markets. Like most small junior miners in the resource sector, they will have to go the every 6 months or so non- brokered private placement route or brokered private placement route for the funds needed; due to the risky nature of the business, the money is not cheap, with the company having to sweeten the pot by tossing in a half or full share warrant, at an attractive price, to garner investor interest. This is the route that most of these mining companies take, Newcastle Gold is no exception.

There really is no other way to say it, Newcastle Gold is a penny stock, with a 18 cent US Over the Counter price and 24 cent Canadian price traded on the riskiest exchange up there, the TSX Venture Exchange. It is fair to say that penny stock companies do not get the best financing opportunities, they are not Goldman Sachs.

Now here is the kicker. Newcastle Gold says that under their baseline scenario, they can reopen this mine and start making a profit at the current gold price for $98 million dollars. $98,000,000!

Based on my knowledge of the Canadian junior miner resource sector, this penny stock company has about as much a chance of raising $98,000,000 as the original management team at the newly created Mojave National Preserve had of getting then Congressman Jerry Lewis to appropriate more than
one dollar for them to run the preserve with for a whole year! That last sounds ridiculous but really happened.

Let me tell you what it means to me as an investor when I look at their fundraising strategy. It means timing is everything. It means that for me to get in with the warrants, free or low cost, other existing shareholders are going to get the value of their shares diluted big time. New money comes in, old money leaves. Only the dyed in the world buy and hold investor types, the dreamers, stick around for the financial screwing to come. Been there, done that. In addition, warrants open up a lot of possibilities for shorting the stock, for those more sophisticated than I am, again further depressing the stock. Bad deal.

But there are other concerns that I have about this stock and company which I would like to share with you now. These I consider red flags, but of course you might have a differing opinion:

a) the deal with the giant firm, Sprott Resources, for the mine itself specifically says no debt financing. Debt financing is a common method used to come up with startup costs. If used here, the $8,150,000 balance due in two payments could be called in by Sprott Resources with the balance due in full payable in cash. As in right now, immediately.

b) the same day that the bank balance figure was counted, the company signed contracts with senior officers of the company valued in totality at around $1.8 million dollars, which will give them each 18 months at their salaries and a bonus equal to the previous year’s bonus, as a “golden parachute.” Off my memory, and I will provide the link and the exact text later on in this post, these payouts will occur if there is a loss of control of the company and a “triggering event” occurs. There are no specific examples of just what sort of happening would be considered a “triggering event” but you can draw your own conclusions here. What readily comes to my mind, considering such a miniscule market cap for the company, is an unsolicited buyout, for example.

The timing of part b above just doesn’t smell right to me. Especially when you add the following.

c) this year, the big news from the Annual General Meeting was the re-pricing of the stock options available to senior officers of the corporation. The price was cut in half. From 10 cents to 5 cents, supposedly as a reward for all their hard efforts and good work performed. Take a look at this share price graph, look at the trend over the last few months and then come to your own conclusions about whether they deserve the re-priced options or not.

chart

Something else is not right about the whole controversy. There are lots of big job and economic gain for the county numbers bandied about by the local politicians and the gold mine supporters, but those numbers are not etched in stone, and I believe that documentation from the company backs up my opinion.

In the investment world, data found in a preliminary economic assessment, which is what Newcastle Gold has, is just that, preliminary. The PEA in conjunction with drill test campaigns is the step right after the permitting process, usually they are pretty much completed about the same time.

As an aside, up on Howe and Bay Streets, Canada’s Wall Streets, the joke is that a PEA is what you use to separate the rubes from their money. The “pie in the sky” returns are pitched off the PEA. Not saying that is the case here, just giving you some investor and market insight.

The big kahuna, the whole enchilada, is found in the “banking feasibility study” or BFS which is what large, sophisticated investors and banks must see done before they cough a single dime of their money. I might also point out that having a BFS is no guarantee that a bank or investor will provide any money for the venture.

In this case, after doing some serious searching, I don’t see any BFS in their documents found on Sedar.
”Oh where oh where can that BFS be, oh where oh where can it be?”

What I am saying is that all the numbers being tossed around are preliminary and in no way should be considered etched in stone, by investors, politicians or the general public.

Bottom line, in my opinion as an investor, it will be extremely difficult for this penny stock company to get the funds to reopen this mine. Not only for the above reasons but also due to the gold price as well as the
Great depression like conditions in the global commodities market right now. Money for the resource sector is getting as tight as bark on a tree. No kidding.

My plan yesterday was to try to speak regarding these things at the meeting, Unfortunately the Senator’s staff did not call my name out. Just as well, with only one minute the case couldn’t be made anyway. I did note with interest that one of the high level executives for this gold mine company was the second person called upon to speak there.

My conclusion is this. President Obama, when you make your decision to approve the Castle Mountains National Monument proposal, do it on the real and verified merits of the opponents arguments. Do not fall for the red herring being tossed out there by mining proponents. Mines are an important part of the economy and an important part in the desert protection plans. Nobody involved is seriously trying to ban mining. If mining is going on, it will continue. Senator Dianne Feinstein has given her word to that.

Morongobill

P.S.

Here are the links and passages from official company filings that I have used in my evaluation of the Newcastle Gold stock and plans. This is not an exhaustive list but I assure you that I have made more than a “good faith” effort and looked at this from a viewpoint, would I send these guys a check? Out of fairness, I will point out that later on, after a BFS(one that verifies gold at commercial quantity and quality levels, there could be some sort of “streaming financing” possible. In a nutshell, a company like Silver Wheaton could look at the figures and buy some of the production, in advance. This long term contract could be used to  help secure startup cost financing. Of course, timing is everything, and like I said earlier, I cannot find a BFS. Now is what is important, due to the president’s possible signing of the proclamation. Would I invest after seeing a good BFS report? Maybe, maybe not. It all depends on the numbers and my gut feeling about management. And that is a little shaky after looking at all those high salaries(100 k through half a million plus with bonuses and options included) and a look at the share price doesn’t seem to justify them, in my opinion.

Lovingood warns of $225 million loss

lovingood_testimony

NewCastle Gold Amends Payment Terms With Sprott Resource

newcastle

Feinstein responds to Lovingood's testimony

feinstein

The following screenshots are from the Management Information Circular sent out giving notice of the Annual General Meeting of June, 2015. You cannot link directly to a file on Sedar unfortunately, or my browser cannot, so go to
http://www.sedar.com, look for public company documents and the name, Newcastle Gold, to see the source
material for these screenshots.

options_reprice

The above is found on page 9.

trigger

Note the total amount when you add up the four figures on the right column. This is from page 22.

The most recent financing received, from the August MD&A or Management Discussion and Analysis.

warrants

Again from the MD&A cited above. Note they are talking about a PEA. My thorough, and I really mean
thorough reading of this 15 page important document does not show mention of a BFS anywhere.

pea

This is where the rubber meets the road folks. Here Newcastle Gold management tells us what they really think.
In my opinion, a fair reading of this can lead to only one conclusion. In no way is this mine going to be reopened in the near future. See why I think the whole imbroglio is just a “red herring?”

mgt_outlook

The next two screen captures go together.

trigger1

trigger2

Funny how that worked out. 1.8 million cash on hand, 1.8 million trigger event contract payouts
possible, both on 6/30/15. As some say on the website Zerohedge, “things that make you go hmmm.”

In addition, I have looked over their Investor Presentation at the company website searching for any word on when a Banking Feasibility Study would be completed and found nothing. Feel free to check it yourself at the link below.

NewCastle Gold Investor Presentation October 2015

Thursday, October 8, 2015

“Save your public lands!” meeting Tuesday 10/13/2015

There will be an important meeting out at the Whitewater Preserve near Palm Springs on October 13th which is a Tuesday.

The meeting will be chaired by Senator Diane Feinstein, senior senator from California and will have senior members of the Obama administration in attendance.

This is a chance for those of us who favor the desert being saved from industrialization from renewable energy development to speak out for that goal by offering our support for the senator’s efforts to have President Obama sign into law measures that will establish two new desert areas as national monuments. This will save hundreds of thousands of acres of untouched desert from being turned into industrial zones. Needless to say,countless plants and animals will be saved in the process and the vast and beautiful desert wilderness will be left untouched for our heirs to enjoy.

Details can be found here.

Here are a couple of videos from that site that might entice you to come out and attend the meeting. Note that it is not a requirement that you speak at the meeting. I may but that is just me.

Please plan to attend, if possible.
Please plan to attend, if possible.

While you are looking at the page, could you go ahead and sign the petition urging for the creation of these national monuments as well? It would be a real help to Senator Feinstein and her supporters in this effort if you sign on. Just so you know, I have signed the petition and will be at the meeting Tuesday.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Morongobill, Bill McDonald

Monday, October 5, 2015

McDonald’s Circle Jerk

Sorry for the offensive title but I have just about had it with McDonald’s.

As some may know, I am in the process of writing an ebook about my weight loss strategies and the process
that I have by trial-and-error come up with which has resulted in a loss of 53 pounds since mid April of this year.

Part of the writing process involves fact checking and that means that sometimes the writer has to call the source
of the information. In my case, it is not so much the facts but more of a question regarding conversion factors. In
particular, which sugar grams to teaspoon conversion equation do they use?

So I figured a quick email to the address listed on their March 2015 revised McDonald’s Nutrition Facts brochure
that I picked up at the drive thru window at a local McDonald’s would yield an answer quickly to my question. Here is
the email address from their own recently printed brochure, photos below.

The cover of the brochure.

The result of my email attempt.

Easy enough to fix with a call to McDonald’s, right?

Wrong!

What ensued was being put on hold at their contact number 1-800-244-6227 and finally being connected
to a representative who told me that they do not have the number available for the nutrition department and that I
could give them the information and they would pass it on via the computer system. Of course, I didn’t believe that
and finally ended up telling her that what if their data showed that a salmonella outbreak might be occurring from data
that they were receiving, couldn’t they just ring up somebody? Nope we put it in the computer. At that point, I
demanded a supervisor. After being on hold several minutes, Alexis came on the line and said the same thing.
I told her that I would call their corporate office then and make sure to pass on her name and the information that I
received from her department.

A Google search basically gave out the same phone number so I did a company search at SEC Edgar for the
phone number and came up with 630-623-3000. In addition, I spent at least 15 minutes going through the corporate website checking the Press and Media section, Investor Relations and others trying to get phone numbers. But there aren’t any
as it is obvious that McDonald’s is interested only in contact via email or web forms.

So I called the number and surprise, surprise got a computer voice which offered options and mine wasn’t listed. But you
could give a name, nutrition I said, and got the New Franchise section which read out a web address to go and hung up
on me.

That was it.  I recognize the run around when I see it. So I have decided to go with my original facts for the ebook, write this
blog post letting all my readers know about it and forward the link to McDonald’s as if they care.

All this because I just want to know a simple formula.

DSCN1895

Look about halfway down for Cookies and cream frappe, large 20 ounce. Here is the pertinent data but first
let me say that I used to be a McDonald’s fancy coffee fiend. And my favorite frappe was the large cookies
and cream frappe. Here is the pertinent data from the chart above:

655 grams serving or 20 ounces, 840 calories, 260 fat calories, 29 fat grams, 18 grams saturated fat, 1.5 grams
trans fats, 90 mg cholesterol, 280 mg sodium, 133 total carb grams, 2 grams dietary fiber, 109 grams sugar
and 11 grams of protein.

Here is the best that I can come up with from the web for that sugar content converted into teaspoons
first then ounces. Remember these figures are from the large 20 ounce frappe which is one serving.

sugar1

 

The above calculation is from the State of California, the link is here.

Using the above calculators you can see that this frappe has 27.25 teaspoons of sugar, could you imagine adding
27 sugar packets to anything that was in a 20 ounce serving? Now for the ounce total.

According to the conversion factor listed here this drink which is a 20 ounce size has 3.8477 ounces of sugar which
by my calculation is pretty close to 20% of the total.

Obviously if you are diabetic, pre diabetic or just plain old overweight, you should run from one of these type of
beverages from the McCafe. As far as I am concerned you will be providing your own rope for your hanging if you
consume these.

Many thanks to the McDonald’s Corporation for stonewalling me and the rest of their consumers in their efforts
to get information from them regarding their products.

It really was like”pulling teeth” talking to those people.

I am sending the McDonald’s contact email a link to those blog post. Who knows maybe I will finally get to talk to
a real  person, their lawyers!

Morongobill

Thursday, September 24, 2015

This weight loss thing, Part 2

In case anyone is wondering what I was hinting at in my last post, I have decided to
write and sell an ebook about my experience with weight loss and dealing with pre diabetes.
Up in the air is the approach taken, but pricing has been pretty much decided along with
the delivery method.

The book will be sold through Amazon most likely and the price will be $4.99. I guess that I will
have to learn social media to get some exposure, and have to do the promotion and marketing
myself.

This book will be about how I used internet research and interaction with medical professionals
to try to get a handle on my condition before it reached the point of no return, and the results obtained.

I have a strong belief that what I did can be done by others as well. By nature, I am pretty lazy and
prone to just going with the flow, but can rise up when needed. The sticking with it part is sometimes
where I fail. So far, that hasn’t happened; in fact, I  love not having to tote around that extra 47 pounds!

Here are 3 stills of me as I was in April or May 2010 from a ABC 7 news story. As you can see, I possibly was an ounce or two overweight at the time of the interview, which was regarding the theft of the Mojave
Cross, covered extensively by me on this blog.

snip1

snip2

snip3

The exercise part is not that hard, nor is the diet part. What is hard is getting the “will to do it” and the
”sticking to it” part, and the “getting off sugar” part. If folks can do that and just follow the path that I lay
out in the ebook(when written) they will see pounds and more importantly for their self esteem,
inches come off. I have went in 5 months from barely squeezing into 38 expandable waist to having extra room in 34 waist pants.

The key to the success of my ebook effort will come if I can convince people that the price of a Starbucks
fancy coffee is worth paying to make the purchase, and that they can do what I did themselves.

I will be going out on early social security next year and a success here generating a little passive income
would be a big plus. I plan on continuing to work up to the limits of the law, about 15.5k$ a year up until
I turn 66, but I don’t believe that applies to writer royalties; I definitely do not want to be driving a bus though
if I can help it.

Anyway, that’s it, that’s the plan.

Morongobill

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

This weight loss thing

A visual update from my weigh in this very morning. Sorry about those pesky toes
in the photo.

IMAG0184

As some may remember, on 4/15/2015, the day of my pre diabetes diagnosis, I weighed
230 pounds. This is 5months and 9 days later, now I don’t have to joke anymore about
possibly being an ounce or two overweight Winking smile

May I show you some photos of some of my recent meals? Perhaps you may be thinking that
the Morongobill might have become part of  the “bean sprout and tofu eating brigade?”

The next two are from one meal.

I will edit this with further comments later, as well as my plans with this. So come back.

Morongobill

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Quick video thought on Ivanpah SEGS filmed on 9/13/2015

While sitting in the Primm, Nevada Carl’s Jr eating breakfast before starting out
on a busy day of mine site exploration near the Mojave Cross in the Mojave National Preserve; my eyes kept glancing over at the huge scar on the landscape that is the Ivanpah SEGS, Brightsource Energy’s solar project.

A huge swath of once beautiful desert ecosystem now converted into an industrial area, with the soil bladed, compacted and treated with chemicals to prevent any plant life from coming back for the life of the plant.

A development that many environmentalists and enviro groups approved of. In my mind, not trying to stop it meant tacit approval, a view that I pointed out many times right here at this blog. To no avail, of course.

And now, a drive through the area beginning a half mile before the Primm  exit on I-15 heading toward California and continuing all the way almost to the Nipton Road exit showcases on the left, a major photovoltaic solar farm that goes right up to the gas plant almost, and once crossing the stateline, the Brightsource farm now joined on the right by a huge new photovoltaic site now well into its’ development. Oh and did I mention the giant new CHP truck inspection facility with all its’ massive infrastructure including access roads and a new bridge over a wash?

All hail the death of the northern end of the Ivanpah Valley and the new Industrialized Valley that has replaced it. My thoughts are captured in this short video below.

All hail the new “Industrialized Ivanpah Valley!”

Morongobill

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Big rain at the Mojave Cross

Along with lightning and thunder. This happened a couple of days ago when I was in the area to
visit old mine sites and camps located within 3 miles or so from the cross.

I plan on posting about the visit but today let me leave you with a couple of unprofessional videos that I took.
This is the first big rain that I have had the pleasure of experiencing in the 15 years or so that I have visited the
Mojave National Preserve.

Get your raincoat.

 

First time that I have ever been in a gullywasher in the Mojave National Preserve!
Will the Morongomobile be washed away in a flash flood? Watch and see.

Morongobill

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Visit to the Hangman’s tree today

At long last, I got the energy to drive the two hours out to Morongo Valley and do a hike
at the Big Morongo Canyon Nature Preserve. The weather report was for sun and around 90 degrees F,
perfect for a 5 mile round trip visit down and back to the Hangman’s tree, or Senor Cottonwood.

This is a 100 plus year old gnarly tree that stands next to a wash where boulders and rocks are scattered
and in some cases are intertwined with the roots of the tree. It also sits right next to the dirt road used to service the gas pipeline that runs up through the nature preserve and Area of Critical Environmental Concern. In fact a year or so ago, they added a ‘lay down area” nearby, hopefully they will never have to do anything to this tree or ‘accidentally” damage it in any way.

As reported here recently, I have been on a diet and exercise kick due to my being found out as a pre diabetic, losing 45 pounds since April 15th, and the purpose of this trip and hike was to be like a ‘shakedown’ in order to see how less weight has affected my overall condition.

I am pleased to say that I made it back but did come back with tired and sore shins, ankles and my right knee. About what you would expect after not hiking in months and wearing old sneakers and not hiking shoes. My new sunhat was great though.

I went with only one liter of water and ran out just as I walked back into the parking lot. That is cutting it close.

Here is a photo of my trip destination.

Coming back up the canyon, I had to take another rest break under a different cottonwood tree which had even
more shade and rocks as stools. Here is a self portrait under the tree of the Morongobill. Sorry I took my new hat off
to expose the dome to the cooling breeze.

While resting down at the Hangman tree, I recorded several voice notes about the hike.
Once I figure out how to work them into blogger and Windows Live Writer, I will edit this post
and add them here. One was about turning young people onto this tree and its’ history.
And that this tree is worthy of living out its’ days without disturbance.

Morongobill

P.S. I am taking a few days in a couple of weeks for a desert trip and plan on visiting the Castle Peaks area
of the Mojave National Preserve. So I will have photos and a trip report up sometime during the 15-18th of September.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Desert trip coming soon

As promised I will be taking about 9 days off which has been shortened from the originally
talked about two weeks.

Flash from the newsroom. I doubt that I will be camping out in the wilds of the Mojave National Preserve
or the North Rim. Instead I will be roughing it in one of the stateline hotels like Whiskey Pete’s. Located right adjacent to the preserve boundary, they offer amenities such as a bed and air conditioning, as well as
food establishments. Oh and before I forget, one armed bandits.

So the plan is to spend at least 3 nights there and go on day trips to the preserve and possibly a trip up to the nature preserve north of Las Vegas.

On the agenda, definitely a trip to the Castle Peaks. Access will most likely be from the west via Hart Mine Road as it is closer and probably has more traffic, in case of a breakdown to the Morongomobile. This is a
must see destination for me, one that I have wanted to visit for years.

Also on the list, a trip to Cima Dome.

One thing that I would like to attempt now that I have lost 45 pounds is to hike up that mountain that looms
up behind the prison that is next door to the Goldstrike Hotel in Jean, Nevada. Access is via the north side
and it does not involve any sort of hand climbing.

The trip starts the day after Labor Day. I can’t wait.

Morongobill

 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Start your day out right! Get the blood pumping!

Only if you can handle classic Rolling Stones.

Check out Mick Taylor’s badass lead and Keith’s rocking rhythm.

Featuring Mick Taylor on lead guitar!

I don’t care what anybody else says. When Mick Taylor was with them, the Stones were at their peak.

Morongobill

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Rumors that APD officers have received driver training are greatly exaggerated.

While it is true that officers patrolling the Disneyland resort district area have received “sensitivity training,”
as it wouldn’t be good for business for them to force tourists to get out of their rental cars and sit on the curb during a routine traffic stop, the rumor that they are “driver trained” may just be that judging by this photo I took the other day which shows the aftermath of an officer encounter.

I have edited the photo for size and to cut out pedestrians walking down the sidewalk.

IMAG0022R

And another photo cropped to the area.

IMAGOO23R

As you can see, the Anaheim Police Department patrol car has run off Harbor Blvd and rammed into the Clancy’s Restaurant sign, lucky for the patrons inside that the sign was there, as surely the car would have hit the side of the building otherwise without the sign absorbing the force of the impact. Ditto for pedestrians that normally are numerous on the sidewalk there.

Now what could have caused this event to occur? What major criminal activity would cause such obvious
speed to apprehend them, were concerns for innocent lives in danger from criminal activity motivating the officer here?

Notice the young man sitting on the sidewalk with his hands cuffed behind his back. What you cannot see from this photo taken while I was driving is the skateboard sitting on sidewalk on the other side of his right leg.

I guess “skateboarding is not a crime” does not apply in the Anaheim Resort District!

I sure hope that the officer ‘washed the egg off his face” before returning to the station.

And 3 cheers for the valiant sign that gave its’ all to protect its’ customers from the out of control Anaheim Police cruiser!

Morongobill

 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Who says you have to starve yourself on a diet?

My apologies for the formatting of this post. For some unknown reason it looks perfect in my blogging program and looks horrible up on the web. Please overlook that as the info  here is of worth to those suffering from being overweight or pre diabetes.

On the morning of 8/7 I weighed in at 194.0 pounds. My blood sugar in the morning was 100. I did not ride the exercise
bike. For breakfast, I had 4 fried eggs, 2 fried fatty pork chops, 1 pork chop that had been cooked in a peppery sauce,
a fried and sliced up zucchini. I did not eat lunch. That night, I had 2 chicken tamales from Alberto’s Mexican Food. Before
I went to bed I had a spoon of peanut butter washed down with about a half a cup of milk.

On the morning of 8/8 I weighed in at 191.6 pounds. I had to weigh myself 3times before I believed it. My blood sugar was 93
and that was after taking a couple of drinks of coffee sweetened with honey. For breakfast I had a carne asada pan fried beefsteak, about half of the beans, 4 eggs fried and a gordito. For dinner, I had a fish taco again from Alberto’s. I did ride the bike for 30 minutes.Below is my my breakfast.

DSCN1749

This morning, 8/9, I just weighed in at 190.5 pounds. I have lost 40 pounds since my pre diabetes diagnosis and the
goal is to get down to around 185. I do not feel deprived in my eating nor do I crave sweets. I do not avoid all carbs except
the high fructose corn sweetener and gratuitous sugary ones. I am not a carb nazi as the beans and the masa bread above prove. I have pretty much given up on potatoes and rice though except maybe a bite from time to time. I have found out that
I can eat the steel cut oats but will have to ride the bike soon after finishing to alleviate a blood sugar spike, although the steel
cut oats do spike at a lower level for me at least vs the rolled oats. You just have to eat and test to determine what will work for you.

As Butter Bob Briggs says on Youtube along with Dr.Eric Westman, fat is good for you and is one of the keys to losing weight. That is entirely different from what the medical establishment has preached for decades. It is working for me, that’s all I can tell you.

Here are a couple of videos from the guys mentioned above for you to check out.

 

Check it out. If you are overweight or are a pre diabetic pay close attention and try at least some of the ideas presented
in the videos. And remember this. Even if you do everything by the book, you could still go up or down a couple of pounds on
any day. It just happens. Try to remember the goal is a long term trend that you are looking for and don’t panic if your weight spikes up out of the blue as most likely it will be gone within a day or two.

And feel free to tell your story in the comments.

Morongobill

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Every picture tells a story

Don’t it?

Remember April 15th my weight was 230 pounds the day of the “talk” with my doctor.
Now this morning.

2015-07-12 10.31.29

That day after one coffee my blood sugar was 142. Now this morning sans my first taste of coffee.

20150712_102106

I don’t remember my blood pressure but I am 100% sure it was higher that day. My pulse is a little higher
than my normal lately, I will show a picture below this one taken about 15 minutes after the exercise bike
riding the other day.

20150712_102813

20150712_105409Wish it was this low all the time!

And now one of the keys to my success with the dieting process. Instead of loading up at Del Taco
with a breakfast burrito and an iced coffee at 0200 after my work finishes on my way home, I come
and eat a big tablespoon of this every night before bed washed down with about a third of a glass
of regular milk. No caffeine, just proteins and good fats, and milk sugars which are slow to spike
an insulin response. I don’t wake up hungry in the middle of the night and my acid reflux is a thing
of the past. I highly recommend this approach unless you have the allergy to the product.

20150712_102841

Thanks for visiting, here is the inspiration for the title of this post.

It sure does.

Morongobill

P.S. Here is my breakfast this morning to give you an idea for help losing weight. One serving old style
Quaker Oats with no sweetener added, plain taste that grows on you and it fills you up. 150 calories.
2 hard boiled eggs with a dash of salt. 78 calories each. One cherry tomato. 3 calories. 309  total calories
plus about say 40 more for the little bit of honey added to my coffee, under 350 total. Now I will ride my
exercise bike for around 46 minutes or so and burn off around 340 of those. It is like getting a free mail
pass. Do that every day without adding more food to the other meals and you will lose weight, slowly but surely. Guaranteed.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Update on the health situation

As mentioned here in June(when I had lost about 20 pounds) I was
diagnosed by my doctor, “pre diabetic.” Meaning that if I didn’t change my
ways, the next diagnosis most likely would be full fledged diabetic, graduating
at some point to injectable insulin, ending my career as a professional driver.

Since then I have kept up with the exercise bike and with the diet change. I
have religiously taken the Metformin pills prescribed and as of this morning
weighed 200 2/10(meaning 30 pounds lost since my diagnosis) pounds. Unfortunately, it looks like I will miss my self made goal of reaching 199.xx pounds by tomorrow morning as I went with a friend to the Golden Corral Buffet today.

20150708_220926

But I did try to burn some of those calories off when I got home with a 47 minute ride on the exercise bike, burning off 359 of them. But if I am to reach that goal and stay there, I guess I will have to not fall off the wagon as much in
the future.

20150626_085948Weigh in on the morning of 6/27/2015 and may be what I see tomorrow morning after pigging out today!

It has been 3 months since the blood work  was done that led to my diagnosis of being pre diabetic. I listened this time to “the talk” from my doctor, taking his words to heart. There are diabetics on both sides of my family tree and I have seen what this insidious disease can do.

I don’t want it to happen to me. My feet may not be pretty but they get the job done and I desire to keep them attached to my legs. I also realize now that those eye floaters and possible retinal issues with one eye might have been sugar related so a checkup for retina issues is again in order. Good thing that I am in the VA Healthcare system. That type of exam is expensive.

It is amazing how much more energy that I have, not hauling around those 30
pounds that I have lost. For some strange reason, I really feel that I can keep it off, as long as I lay off the sugar, especially that of the high fructose corn variety. Too bad it has been 100 out in the desert lately, I am itching to go visit the Hanging Tree again down the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve- see if he is still hanging around that dogleg in the trail.

This blog has been in hiatus for a long time and hopefully I will keep writing, but it may be a little different as I am starting to think that I might have something to offer to those who have weight and diabetic health issues. Perhaps I can find someway to help folks that are in need.

I will try.

Morongobill

 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Watch this beautiful short film

And see if you don’t feel like driving to Nevada for a visit.

This place is under threat from Congress.

I heard about this over at the Mojave Desert Blog. Here is the link. Note that if you are a Nevada
resident, there is a way that you can help. See the story there for details.

New Bill Would Gut Desert National Wildlife Refuge

My advice is to click on the Vimeo link inside the video above and you can watch it HD on a larger screen there.
Be prepared to be awed.

Here is the Fish and Wildlife official website to the range.Lots of good information here.

Morongobill

Sunday, June 28, 2015

New Mojave National Preserve Travelogue

By our friend the Drycyclist, whose latest MNP Excursion was via a Toyota FJ Cruiser. I am already up to p.5 or 6
and here is a screenshot of the page I am reading right at this very moment.

ScreenShot_20150628105411

The above screenshot is taken from the drycyclist.com website. The photo copyright by the drycyclist.

I am really glad I found this new travelogue as I hope to spend a couple of weeks off in September, and would like to spend several days in the MNP! Now that I have the Ford Explorer, I am ready to explore.

Morongobill

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Diabetic* steak lovers, rejoice!

Check out this video presented in 720HD as a proponent of the Paleo Diet shows exactly
how to cook the perfect steak! I am so hungry after watching this video and can’t wait to try it.

Vegetarians do not view this!

* All meat lovers are welcome to view this.

www.paleodietinabox.com

Morongobill

Sunday, June 7, 2015

No more ignoring the obvious fact

That I am facing a diabetic future if I am not more careful.

8 months ago my doctor had routine blood tests done and the results were that I was close to the
the diabetes edge. Of course, I ignored the advice to lose weight and exercise, continuing on with
eating with reckless abandon.

Well you guess what happened, on April 15 my doctor gave me the “talk.” In a nice way, he told me that if I
didn’t change my ways, I would be diagnosed as a diabetic; in fact, my blood work said that I was “pre-diabetic.”

Here are the salient numbers to consider:

Hemoglobin A1C:                       6.3 (HIGH)      reference range is 4.3-5.6 % range.

Glucose:                                    142                     reference range is 60-100.

Triglycerides:                             367 (HIGH)      reference should be under 150.

The A1C is a 3 month average and is the proof that I have crossed the line. Now no one told me that I was supposed to fast before the bloodwork( I had no food but did get a Del Taco iced coffee on the way to the lab) so the Glucose result was tainted, but the A1C was all the proof needed for the diagnosis.

Further research has led me to believe that the high T reading was of equal concern as it might mean that my liver has gotten ‘fatty” enough to dump some of it into the bloodstream and that I might cross the line into even more trouble without
some sort of change happening as in right now.

My weight on the day of the Dr visit was 233 pounds( maybe 230 sans clothes etc) and I was doing no exercise program,
not even going out to the desert to hike.

Since then I have been riding the exercise bike almost every day without fail for 30 minutes and burning on average almost
200 calories a day at that. Yesterday, I did 2 30 minute rides with a total of 400+ calories expended. Unfortunately I over ate
and put on a pound.

As of this morning, I weighed 210 pounds, a loss of 20 pounds since April 15. I went cold turkey off sugar(still use a little honey or sugar in coffee- the first cup only then add coffee only later) and have had virtually zero sweets since then. I purchased an electronic scale and use it every morning. I also bought a glucose checker and have been testing about every other day.

As some of you may know, I am a shuttle bus driver and one cannot use injectable insulin and keep your commercial license.
The doctor placed me on Metformin 500 mg twice a day and I have been taking it religiously. I also am taking a fish oil gel tab to help with burning off the high triglycerides.

One thing that I have learned is that my Powerade Fruit Punch sports drink that I love and even blogged about was killing me.
Now that’s a strong statement I know and I hate to make it. But here is a fact that I just discovered yesterday but first let me also point out something that I had glossed over. Both Gatorade and Powerade have about 21 grams of sugar per 12 ounce serving. The bottles that I preferred were the 32 ounce PA size or over 50 grams of sugar. Now here is the kicker.

Powerade is sweetened with fructose from the corn sweetener that is used nowadays in virtually every packaged food in the market. Do the research, fructose is not good for you. It is like a silent killer over the long run and I believe that I am or was addicted to it. I was willfully ignorant and it almost cost me big time.

I plan on blogging further on my journey to escape a diabetic future here so stay tuned.

Anyway that’s it, hope to see you again.

Morongobill

Mood Music

My suggestion is that you put on a set of headphones and close your eyes and enjoy.

This is a version of the Stones classic, “Winter,” with Mick Taylor on lead and Carla Olson singing.

Mick Taylor was the Stones guitarist hired to replace Brian Jones, ushering in what I and many others
feel was their greatest period and lasting for around 5 years.

This version was performed in 1989 or 90.

One of the BEST versions of this Stones classic!

Fellow Windows Live Writer users here is a quick fix to issues posting Youtube videos. Are you getting
the dreaded “unknown provider” error when you try to put up a video with WLW? Here is the easy fix.

Go up to the video link and put your pointer to the right of the s in “https.” Just hit backspace one time.

Problem solved, post away with reckless abandon!Winking smile

Morongobill